From the archive
The Selectric was the centerpiece of Eliot Noyes’ s work as IBM’s chief design consultant in the late 1950s. Interviewed in the ’70s, Noyes related that his staff had shaped the Selectric using clay models and mirrored half-models, like those employed by the designers of cars and clipper ships. “We tried to emphasize the singleness and simpleness of form,” he said, “by making the whole shape something like that of a stone so that you are aware of the continuity of the sides and under the machine and over the top.”
Alan McCroskery, senior designer in Noyes’s office did the detail work. “The whole idea was to express the idea of a machine that did not have a carriage return,” he told me a couple of years ago.